Wednesday, February 27

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon & Chinese Mythology


**Many thanks to our 15yo son, who created the Modern Mythology posts!**

According to Chinese mythology, the god Pangu cracked the egg he was sleeping in, and this caused the big bang. The egg contained yin and yang, the two halves, which then separated. Yang, the lighter, rose up to create the sky, while Yin, the darker, formed the earth. Pangu held both in place with his hands and feet.

The greatest creature in Chinese mythology is the dragon. The dragon is a long, winged, snake-like creature with four legs, each with long and dangerous claws. Dragons were thought to have power over water and the weather. The dragon was the symbol of the emperor. His throne was even called the Dragon Throne. It is said that the Yellow Emperor turned into a dragon and flew to heaven when he died.

The Chinese zodiac is said to have been set when the Jade Emperor announced a race for the animals to compete for the twelve places in the zodiac. The rat forgot to wake up the cat, her neighbor, and went to the starting line. The rat rode on the ox through the whole race, jumping off just in time to run ahead and place first. He was followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Because she was not woken up, the cat missed the race and a chance at the place in the zodiac. This is why she hates the rat.

The legend of the Old Man in the Moon - the matchmaker - says that he ties the feet of young men and women with red cords for marriage.  They believe that marriages are made on the moon, and tie red cords to a tree to pray to the Old Man in the Moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

One sad love story tells of the weaver girl Zhin├╝, daughter of a goddess, and the cowherd Niulang. They fell in love, married, and had children. When the goddess found out about them, she was displeased and banished them to different sides of the Milky Way. Once a year, magpies form a bridge between the two lovers so they can visit. The day is celebrated as China’s Valentine’s Day.  You can see this acted out in Karate Kid.

  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
    • In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.
Make / Do
Define / Identify
  • despair
  • harmony
  • plunge
  • sacred
  • rational
  • molten
  • immortal
  • Yudi 
  • Doumu
  • Pangu 
  • Yi the Archer
  • Yanwang 
  • Yinyanggong
  • How does the creation myth reflect Chinese culture?
  • How does Chinese mythology compare to more western mythologies, such as Greek or Roman?


  1. My kids are fascinated by all types of mythology. This sounds like a wonderful book & lesson. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and home. Pinned.

  2. This is a great unit resource and the book is a very good one. We have read it before. Thanks for sharing this set of resources.